Startup Soars Providing In-Home Health Care, Testing in Time of Covid
The U.S. emergency department, long an imperfect shelter for those with non-urgent medical needs, is perhaps the last place you want to be amid a pandemic.
Covid-19 has aggravated an already-broken U.S. health-care system in which at least 30% of emergency department visits were deemed unneeded before the virus’s arrival. Patients with less urgent conditions often wait hours for care, and they’re usually left with a hefty bill. Now, a new heath-care model is seeking to bridge the gap between clinical care and telemedicine, offering hands-on medical aid inside people’s homes.
In a time of Covid, a company known simply as Ready is logging more than 15,000 visits and 10,000 Covid-19 tests a month to patients in New York City, Los Angeles, the District of Columbia, Reno, Miami, and even the marshy bayous outside New Orleans. When called, Ready quickly dispatches an EMT or paramedic to a patient’s home. There, its so-called Responders work with doctors linked through iPads to take vitals, diagnose problems, prescribe therapies or, if needed, escalate cases to the closest ER.
While this may sound like a concierge service for the rich, Ready’s target market is Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income Americans that’s accounted for about half of its patient visits.
“Covid accelerated a trend that had already begun, which is a shift from institutional brick-and-mortar urgent care to the home setting,” according to Julian Harris, a Ready board member. “It’s impressive to see the organization rise to the challenge of providing care in the most difficult of times, in places and to populations that other companies have not focused on.”
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